Bigging up Britain

“Why go all the way to Bondi when you can come to Bridlington?”  remarks Rupert Grint. The Harry Potter star features - alongside Stephen Fry and Downtown Abbey’s Michelle Dockery - in the new £4million government backed ‘Holidays at Home’ scheme.

It’s Britain’s first domestic advertising campaign designed to entice us all to holiday at home, as opposed to overseas. “Why on earth would anyone want to go abroad in 2012?” asks Fry in the television commercial, which has been running for a week now. Smart Alecs might answer to avoid the ubiquitous Fry but the truth of the matter is that Brits will want to go abroad because - in the midst of the economic woes that swirl allaround us - we deserve a fab-u-lous foreign break.

Britain is overlooked as a holiday destination by those of us that live here but perhaps for good reason. Don’t get me wrong: I am sure the east coast of Yorkshire (where Grint professes to be holidaying this year) is idyllic but surely it’s over egging it just a tad to say that Bridlington beats a pilgrimage to the world famous Bondi where Bonza weather comes as standard?! And do we really want to be encouraging British citizens to stay at home anyway? Foreign travel not only broadens the mind (if you need evidence, go to the cinema and see The Exotic Marigold Hotel) or speak to 25 per cent of Americanswho don’t possess a passport) but there are plenty of British businesses whose livelihood is dependent upon us taking our holidays abroad.

Nonetheless we should explore our own backyard(there’s a wealth of superb short breaks that don’t require any jabs, visas or passports on our doorstep) before heading off to the Algarve et al and in this respect the government’s new advertising campaign is to be commended. A shocking number of Brits are better acquainted with Ibiza and Benidorm than the Peak District or Gower Peninsula so it’s fair to say that the new 'Holiday at Home' campaign is long overdue.

However I can’t help but question the government’s decision to use Fry and his fellow celebs to implore us to holiday at home.  The last time I saw the tweedy Tweeter on telly, he was presenting a six part series on, um, America. And what about Planet Word - the five part series for the Beeb which saw Fry circumnavigate the globe investigating language? As for Grint... well if Rupes (who is rumoured to be worth £24 million as a result of his role as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise)- really plans to spend his summer at a minor fishing port in the North Sea, then I’m JK Rowling. To say these jet setting celebs are an odd choice to front a campaign for domestic tourism is gross understatement.

But I digress... the bottom line? We don’t need Fry and his famous friends to tell us that the 2012 is a great time to holiday at home. The UK has much to offer each and every year but the pleasures and pros of venturing abroad should not be underestimated either.